Swimming, sunbathing, floating

Welcome to the most unique urban beach in the country, or so Richmonders think. There are swimming, sunbathing and floating spots all along the riverfront, but be forewarned the mighty James River is just that: mighty strong. There are class III and IV rapids roaring through downtown, as well as a number of calm swimming holes along the river. You have similar extremes when it comes to sunbathing; there are hundreds of rocks to lounge on and soft, sandy “beaches.” Remember, when floating in the river, have your feet headed downstream to protect you from the rocks. Here are some guides to swimming and floating on the James.

Several companies offer visitors the chance to explore the James River and its shoreline through kayak, canoe, tube and riverboard rentals or guided trips.

Riverside Outfitters


Memorial Day through Labor Day
9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily
Labor Day through Memorial Day
9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday


Riverside Outfitters
6836 Old Westham Road
Richmond, Virginia 23225
(804) 560-0068
Driving directions